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Let’s temper technology with reason

Saturday December 23 2017


A couple chatting on a social media site. The ICT has affected the way we do things in today’s world. FILE PHOTO 

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The other evening I had dinner with my nieces ranging in age between 22 and 30.

It was mainly about catching up on issues and probably getting ourselves charged for the upcoming festivities.

We discussed a lot of things and they were quite eager to compare our way of doing things to that of their generation.

They also wanted to know a lot of the things that were happening at our home before they were born or when they were kids.

At some point they wanted to know about their uncle — my brother — who died in an accident 27 years ago before some of them were born.



At that very moment my friend, who knew that late brother pretty well, joined us.

We even remembered that this friend was the guest of honour at that late brother’s pre-wedding party.

This seemed to fascinate my good nieces. One of them, the oldest among them, said:

“You people used to hold pre-wedding parties and even get a guest of honour..! How so personal? Today you’d just find your name on a list of people on some social media platform without even being asked.”

That is their world in which we also are shareholders.

Information and communications technology has not only affected the way we do things in today’s world but it has changed the meanings we give to reality and how we handle that reality.

Take certain important mysteries of humanity such as death and the manner in which they are communicated today.

While in our days it was a solemn message that had to be communicated by word of mouth from a responsible individual, it is not out of the ordinary today for some people to learn of the death of a dear one on a social media outlet.

The ICT is affecting most dimensions of our life.

I saw on the news a story about a case that was determined in a court of law somewhere in the UK.

It was involving Uber, the taxi company, and someone else.

This company was arguing that they are not a transport company but a communication enabler that connects a client to a cab. They lost the case.

Look at the manner in which political discourse is conducted today.

Propaganda and meaning making through social media is a key component of political campaigns.

The president of what has thus far been known to be the most powerful nation on earth makes his presidential sentiments known to the citizens through tweeter.

Not many are comfortable with that. An investigation is under way to find out if Russia interfered with the American elections via technology.

We just have to change our perception. Merry Christmas!

The writer is dean of students at the University of Nairobi [email protected]